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By: kelvinmai, Kelvin Mai
May 14 2015 11:00am
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When Khans of Tarkir was first spoiled, there was one card that I really wanted to break into standard. Unfortunately it's pretty obvious she was created for the Commander crowd. Narset, Enlightened Master had a ridiculous ability to cheat into play up to 4 spells ON ATTACK. That's right, it says when she attacks, not when she deals combat damage to a player. If you had instant speed removal it would complicate blocking plans on the opposing side of the table. On top of all that she had hexproof and first strike making her hard to deal with for many players. All of that sounds great, but her casting cost of 6 kept her off the tournament tables. 6 was fair, any lower would have made her insanely broken, even at 5 hilarity would ensue!

The Narsets (Plural)

Narset, Enlightened Master 

Fate didn't give much to support anything new that you could do with her, but it didn't stop people playing around with her and seeing if she could work out. Frank Lepore did just that in his deck tech series. In it he pointed out many things that makes it hard for a Narset deck to really take off. Even though her colors screams control she works very poorly with counterspells as they fade away at the end of turn. The next feel bad moment is flipping over a wrath effect off of Narset, both End Hostilities and Anger of the Gods would kill her. 

However I believe that with the release of Dragons, we now have the tools to make Narset shine. The question has always been how best to take advantage of her? The control archetype doesn't suit her well. Tapping out for Narset in control is basically being timewalked. So I in turn suggest we should try her in a more midrange type of deck. But midrange is usually associated with creatures which is the opposite of this whole deck idea. But the definition of midrange isn't big creatures and removal spells, instead it's a mixture of offense and defense. The offensive part is usually taken up by big beaters like Siege Rhino but there's another way to be on the attack and this standard is chock full of them. Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker is the best example of this idea, he's not an actual creature but he takes up the mantle of one. In a sense, the concept  could also be thought up as a tap out style control deck as the counterspells are given up for more raw power. And yes, I just outlined the deck to be a midrange superfriends type of deck, are you in yet?

Alright that's enough, onto what I've brewed up!

Narset's ability to play planeswalkers for free has been a fantasy to me, and I'm glad it can finally be realized. Super friends is definitely the way to go and we have arguably the best of the best here. The new Narset is the most welcome addition as she does everything that the deck wants. Domri Rade has proved that card advantage half of the time is amazing, and Narset's plus ability is just as spectacular. Her minus ability isn't half bad either, rebounding a Dig Through Time is obviously the dream and doubling a Roast isn't the worst thing that can happen. As one of the Vorthos fangirls that are shipping the two, you can't have Narset without Sarkahn so of course he's in here. But don't worry Sarkhan does work his plus hits hard to keep the pressure up and his minus is removal. In fact all three of our planeswalkers serve double duty, each one has an aggressive plus ability and removal in their minuses. Elspeth and Ugin's minus are both sweepers and usually serving to kill everything on the board that is a threat to our Narset. And speaking of double duty, there's Soulfire Grandmaster as early pressure as well as late game recursion.

As I've mentioned earlier this is more of a midrange deck than a control deck so many of these cards serve double duty. It gives the deck some versatility to be as aggressive or defensive as needs be. A shining example of versatility in this deck is Ojutai's Command and its modes. It's possible to lay down an early assault with Soulfire Grandmaster until it dies, command to reanimate and draw a card or counter a Siege Rhino. In addition it is one of the only counterspells that still plays well with the original Narset. Ojutai himself is also in here, he can't be as well protected as other decks but he serves as a tough threat to deal with and an Anticipate every turn. And then finally Banishing Light is our catch all answer that takes care of everything that our other spells can't.

Options

Valorous Stance Frost Walker Chandra, Pyromaster

Ok, so the deck hasn't been completely fine-tuned yet. I picked Roast for the Siege Rhino problem but Valorous Stance works just as well and may probably be better. And maybe you'd like burn to the face instead, like a Lightning Strike in the main instead of the full playset of Roast. Play around with the numbers. Seeker of the Way could take the place of the Grand Master and even Frost Walker could even be included for some early pressure. You may also notice that I didn't include all the planeswalkers available in these colors as there's an absence of Chandra, Pyromaster. While I'd advise you against her cause she's just not as good as Outpost Siege I would encourage you to play with the Siege itself, you may get some good results. In any case the maindeck is just my take on it, but the sideboard is where I can give you some good advice.

As I've mentioned earlier Roast is in there for the Siege Rhino menace but could easily be pulled out for any other option against other matchups. Arc Lightning and Seismic Rupture are both great option against little 1/1s from aggressive red decks, and Anger of the Gods for the other aggro decks that like to use Fleecemane Lion. Anger also gets rid of the Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector combination that has been gaining steam lately. Against control decks you may want to take out Jeskai Narset for a playset of counterspells, Negate being my go to selection with Disdainful Stroke as a secondary option. And Keranos, God of Storms is a great threat that control has a hard time dealing with that definitely needs a mention. 

 

I, like many other Johnnies, have had an unrequited love for Narset. She has an amazing effect that we all wished to abuse but she was never surrounded by the right cards to make it happen. I'm hoping this fantasy has finally been realized with this concoction that I call a deck. And I'm glad you stuck around this long to see me make it happen. I hope that you take this as a baseline to start a relationship with Narset and have an amazing time piloting it. As always thanks for sticking around and I'll see you guys next time.